How much do you listen to your conscience?
Our conscience is like a moral nerve for the soul. It is a pain receptor that warns us of moral danger . . . by awakening us to the dangers of what we are becoming. When we say “I’m sorry” (confession), it allows us to choose a better path of becoming.
Everyone has a conscience. Sometimes we choose to follow its nudge, and other times we are oblivious to it, intentionally going a different way.
John Wesley, the father of Methodism, told of a time that a man was convicted by his conscience and made a complete life change.
Wesley was an evangelist, and the way “preachers” worked in the early 1700s, they rode from place to place on horseback. Once, in between preaching stops, Wesley was stopped by a highwayman who shouted, “HALT! Your money or your life.”
Wesley got down from his horse, emptied his pockets to reveal only a handful of coins. He even invited the robber to search his saddlebags – which only carried his books.
In disgust, the thief was turning away when John Wesley shared, “Stop, I have something to give you.”
Puzzled, the robber turned back. Wesley then leaned towards him and said, “My friend, you may live to regret this sort of life in which you are engaged. If you ever do, I beseech you to remember this: ’The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s son, cleanses us from all sin.’”
The robber hurried away, but Wesley resumed his trips, all the time praying in his heart that the word might be fixed in the robber’s conscience.
Years later, at the close of a Sunday evening service, a stranger stepped forward and earnestly begged to speak with Wesley. Wesley recognized him as the robber who had stolen from him so long before.
Yet, now there was a difference! Now the former robber was a well to do tradesman and a follower of Christ.
Raising Wesley’s hand to his lips he affectionately kissed it and said in deep emotion, “To you, dear sir, I owe it all.”
Wesley replied softly, “Nay, nay, my friend, not to me, but to the precious blood of Christ which cleanses us from all sin.”
Sin is when we “miss the mark.” The good news is we have a conscience that helps us find the right path again.
1-2 O my soul, bless God.
From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name!
O my soul, bless God,
6-18 God makes everything come out right;
he puts victims back on their feet.
He showed Moses how he went about his work,
opened up his plans to all Israel.
God is sheer mercy and grace;
not easily angered, he’s rich in love.
He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold,
nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve,
nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth,
so strong is his love to those who revere him.
And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
he has separated us from our sins.
Thoughts to Ponder:
Think of a time your conscience has nudged you one-way, but you chose to go another way instead. How could things have been different if you had followed your conscience?
Is there something your conscience is nudging you to do now? Take a few moments to listen.